THE late summer and autumn wasp menace could become a thing of the past, thanks to a revolutionary new product from a Godmanchester company. Until now, the firm says, wasp traps have been as likely to make the problem worse than cure it, and users are at
THE late summer and autumn wasp menace could become a thing of the past, thanks to a revolutionary new product from a Godmanchester company.
Until now, the firm says, wasp traps have been as likely to make the problem worse than cure it, and users are at risk from stings even when they get rid of dead wasps.
The system was devised by trial and error by Edward Pazik, a retired master builder trying to protect his plum orchard. But, when he showed his idea to his pharmacist son, Karol Pazik, the chemist recognised the potential, refined the process, patented it and set up business in Godmanchester, to assemble and market the devices.
Pest control authorities have been so impressed by the invention - WaspBane - that the company has been authorised to run seminars as part of the continuing professional development requirements process for pest control officers registering with the British Pest Control Association.
Mr Pazik is convinced that WaspBane is saving lives in the UK and the other eight countries in which it is now sold after just months of production.
"There are some 46,000 people in the UK alone with a potentially fatal allergy to wasp stings," he said. "But there are other kinds of allergic reactions that don't develop until weeks afterwards.
"Recently published medical papers suggest that elderly people may be vulnerable to wasp stings if they have a pre-existing heart condition. There are reports of elderly patients suffering heart attacks as a result of wasp stings and, because of the pre-existing heart condition, the wasp stings tend to go undiagnosed. This is probably an infrequent occurrence," said Mr Pazik, "but it doesn't hurt to be cautious in the garden if you do have a heart condition."
The effectiveness of the device relies on understanding the wasp life-cycle and killing them at the right time, he said.
"We have the greatest respect for wasps as natural pest controllers. An average nest will eradicate four to five tonnes of insect pests earlier in the year. But at this time of year they start to become pests to humans.
"The WaspBane wasp trap uses a unique bait system which stays fresh and works all season long. In addition, because WaspBane has a large 3.4-litre collection chamber, it has space to catch many thousands of wasps without the need for re-baiting. This means that, once set, the Waspbane wasp trap does not need any further maintenance or cleaning as it will continue working throughout the whole of the season."
The clever bit is that the device turns dead wasps into a sweet substance that continues to attract the insects and it prevents their returning to the nest to recruit a swarm of their mates.
"It is absolutely essential for safety reasons to kill the first scouting wasp," said Mr Pazik. "If that wasp feeds and then returns to the nest, you're in trouble because you'll have hundreds of wasps in no time at all. This is why other traps fail. Scouting wasps get in, feed and then get out.
"The problem is that to the untrained eye, the trap looks like it's doing a good job because it's busy with wasps all the time, but generally speaking a busy trap is a bad trap. If you kill the scout, then you have to kill only one wasp to prevent lots more coming into the area you want to protect."
At the end of the season, the self-sealing reservoir of the trap is simply capped and discarded, to be replaced the following July or August by a fresh reservoir.
Although initially more expensive than other traps, at £22 for a single unit, that can represent a saving of £50 in a season because it does not need re-baiting every few days, Mr Pazik said. The company is offering significant discounts on multiple orders for businesses such as pubs - a particular issue now that legislation has driven smokers out of doors into the sights of the pests.
"It looks simple, but there's a lot of science and understanding behind it," Mr Pazik explained. "And it is environmentally friendly. It uses no pesticides and can even be used to keep predatory wasps away from beehives."
INFORMATION: WaspBane is at Unit 2, Cardinal Park, Godmanchester PE29 2XN; telephone: 01480 414644; fax: 01480 413111; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; online orders via website www.waspbane.com.